How to Install a Panoramic Sunroof

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A panoramic sunroof is one of the newer sunroof options for vehicles. While a bit more expensive to install than other sunroof styles, many people find the expanded view of the sky worth the extra money and effort. If you're going to try to install a panoramic sunroof yourself, there are a few things you need to know.

Things You'll Need

  • Panoramic sunroof installation kit
  • Heavy-duty saw
  • Nibbler
  • Electric drill
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Die grinder
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Chalk
  • Determine whether your vehicle is equipped for a panoramic sunroof by contacting a dealership dedicated to the make of your car. after market panoramic sunroofs can usually installed in vehicles that offer them as options on new cars, such as the Mini-Cooper, Subaru Outback Wagon, Malibu Maxx and Scion TC, as well as several minivans and SUVs.

  • Decide whether you want to install an operable or fixed-glass panel sunroof. The fixed-glass version is easier to install, since you don't need to contend with any mechanical components. If you want a sunroof for ventilation as well as viewing purposes, you'll want an operable version.

  • Purchase a sunroof installation kit from an auto parts store or an online store. Most cost in the range of $100 to $200.

  • Gather all of your supplies for the project, including a heavy-duty saw or nibbler, an electric drill and an electric die grinder. You will also need wrenches and screwdrivers.

  • Remove the template from the sunroof kit and place it on the roof of your vehicle. Using chalk, trace around the sunroof template on your car roof. Leave the template in place for the moment (you may want to tape it down) so that you can see where the holes should be drilled for the wind deflector.

  • Drill holes for the wind deflector in the places marked on the template. Most kits will require a total of six holes.

  • Use a nibbler, die grinder, or saber saw to cut around the chalked outline you have made on your car roof. Once you've removed the metal rectangle from the roof ribs, you can discard it.

  • Disconnect the interior light and remove it from the vehicle.

  • Remove the hard headliner with a razor knife so that it follows the outline of the roof cutout. Affix the protective foil strips and side strips along the edges of the hole you've created in the roof.

  • Insert the wind deflector by using the washers and sealers that are included with the kit.

  • Place the sunroof into the cutout area and confirm that the sealing rubber is in place. Insert the front and rear clamp frames along with the supports and connect the operating switch and wires. Confirm that the operating switch works properly.

  • Complete the installation by positioning the front, side and rear covers with the push-in fasteners. Align the edge protection and trim all of the excess material with pliers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean your work area before you begin installing the sunroof. Make sure that there are no objects present that will interfere with the installation process.
  • Panoramic sunroof kits can be difficult to locate. If you aren't able to find one that fits your vehicle, opt for the largest size "pop-up" sunroof available instead.
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